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Tribes in Arizona
Policies & Notifications
> Miscellaneous Q&A
What is the difference in tribal government-to-government and local government-state IGA(s)?
IGAs between the tribes and state are limited to those that do not require either party to exchange money with the other or relate to some action that may require conflict resolution in the future. Neither the tribes nor the state have expressed a willingness to appear in each other’s courts.
What about tribal sovereignty as it relates to funds and communications?
Congress determines the rules regarding tribal sovereignty. Executive Orders govern them.
What protocol should be followed for each tribe?
Key contacts need to be established within each community (tribal and other), so proper protocols can be established. It is realized there is a special relationship between tribes and the federal government but there is also a need for cooperation between the state and the tribes. The
Arizona Commission of Indian Affairs
has a list of all Native American tribal contacts. Kristine Thomas is the Executive Director and point of contact, she can be reached at 602.542.4421.
How can communications be improved between ADOT, other state agencies and the tribes? A way to direct/funnel information to appropriate offices is needed.
The most effective process that has been found to date is to coordinate transportation related activities with the tribe’s respective district. District personnel have both the knowledge and the ability to direct specific requests to where they can best be handled. Tribal contacts have been, in the past, based on personal contacts rather than through specific offices. It may help if there are specific offices that are points of contact for
personnel. Contacts for various state agencies can be found on the
Arizona State web site
. The ADOT Intermodal Transportation Division
is available on the ADOT ITD web page and the ADOT Phone Book is located at
Can tribes enter into stewardship agreements with the state or FHWA?
The possibility exists though there has been no such agreement to date. This is the same process as with federal funding. Tribes must follow State statutes and work through the MPO or COG. Or the tribe can partner with the State and jointly fund projects as previously mentioned.
How do tribes provide material sources? Specifically comment on environmental clearances and federal constraints.
On federal trust land, work is done with BIA for clearances. ADOT has a standard specification regarding endangered species, flood plan, cultural resource survey, etc. Construction contracts require the use of materials from cleared sources. (If a site is cleared for use, you can become a competitive advantage for contractors working in your area.) We need more tribal sources. Commercial sources must also be cleared prior to use; ADOT requires this of all contractors. Could materials be considered a “matching” element? The answer is potentially, if it meets quality requirements.
Does the countywide accident data include the tribal data?
It is the sponsoring agency’s responsibility to report accident data and get it into the
Arizona Transportation Information System
(ATIS), formerly the Accident Location and Identification Surveillance System (ALISS). If it is not reported, it is not included. On reservations, ADOT owns the road, but the tribal agencies do enforcement, so the state needs to get the information from the tribal agency. It is important to report the data correctly (milepost, type of accident, etc.). The tribal agency needs to know how to report the necessary information accurately. There is inconsistency in forms used on the various reservations. There is also reluctance to provide personal information. It is important to note that ADOT does not need or want the private information, just the statistics like location and type. With the new performance measures, safety is a criteria, so getting good data is vital to getting priority on a project.
What is the difference between Title 23 and the 23 Code of Federal Regulations?
The numbering is purely coincidental. Title 23 is the law that set up the federal transportation funding process. The 23 CFR are the FHWA rules and regulations that govern how the laws will be implemented and managed.
Do the Navajo and Hopi Reservations provide updated requests for functionally classified roads?
Navajo has always questioned how the functional classifications are designed for roads on Indian reservations. If ADOT is questioned, it is referred to FHWA and vice versa. Whatever the answer is, they (ADOT and FHWA) say it is something that has been predetermined with enactment of Intermodal Surface Tranportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA).
Please define functional classifications again. What is its importance?
The Functional Classification determines where the dollars from FHWA will go. Roadways are classified by roadway function; hierarchy goes from freeway to arterials to collectors to local. More information is available on FHWA's and ADOT's web sites and ADOT also has a book with descriptions available, please see
When the Functional Classification is changed, does the Tribe give up right of way and does it change who is responsible for maintenance of the road?
A change in the functional classification does not cause the tribe to give up right of way and it doesn't affect ownership or maintenance responsibility.
Navajo Division of Transportation
What's the Navajo Nation's annual budget for construction and maintenance?
In 2002, $10 million from fuel tax. For further information contact Paulson Chaco, Division Director,
Navajo Division of Transportation
What type of data does NDOT collect under the planning contract?
Average Daily Traffic (ADT), comprehensive planning, mapping, accident reporting, Global Positioning System (GPS) roads, inventories of roads and bridges, and data for the 20-Year Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP).
Does Navajo do their own archeological surveys?
Yes, under a P.L. 93-638 contract with the BIA. Contact Roger Walkenhorst of the Navajo Nation DOT in Window Rock at (928) 871-6498.
What is the Navajo Nation doing with Navajo gasoline tax "NHURF?"
There is no "NHURF". The Navajo gas tax is used on tribal transportation projects and policy is under development.
When Navajo talks about spending $1,000 per mile per year on their roads, are they talking about paved or dirt roads? Does that include funds for maintenance?
The money is for maintenance only and is more on the order of $300 - $700 per mile or approximately one sixth of the funds the states or counties spend for the same mile of road to maintain.
Why do the COGs, the ADOT Districts, and the Transportation Board use different ways to define their boundaries? Nothing seems to match up.
The Transportation Board and COGs are based on county boundaries and since each have differing responsibilities the counties they serve are different. ADOT Districts were aligned based on maintenance and construction programs rather than by county.
Who monitors air quality on tribal lands?
Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) and/or tribes do the monitoring. It is up to the tribe to determine how they want to handle it. Air Quality on tribal lands within metropolitan non-attainment areas is usually monitored by the MPO.
Were any of the Native American Tribal Focus Group ten milestone meetings held on Indian Reservations? If yes, where? If no, why?
The answer is yes, the Native American Tribal Focus Group meeting was held in Sells (Tohono O'odham) and Regional Transportation Forums were held on the San Carlos Apache Reservation and on the Colorado River Indian Tribes Reservation (CRIT). In the next round, meetings are planned for Window Rock (Navajo), Sells, Page (adjacent to Navajo) and CRIT.
Is the 15 or 20-year project planning updated or revised each year – Navajo Reg (Reservation) roads?
The IRR 20-year plan is updated every five years. The Navajo plan is updated every-year. ADOT district engineers would like to be involved in discussing these plan updates to assure coordination between local plans and the individual district plans.
How are state and metro planning processes involving tribes that are located within metro areas? How is the BIA involved?
BIA involvement is limited to providing information on BIA projects, and providing the names of tribal contacts to State DOTs and MPOs to assist them in meeting the statewide planning "consultation" requirements of 23 U.S.C. 135(d) (2) - Consultation with Governments.
How much involvement do Indian tribes have in planning?
Tribal involvement in planning is directly dependent on the individual tribes ability to access and be a part of the planning effort. Contact
, the respective
ADOT district engineer
, or the COG. On Navajo, the transportation planning process starts at the Chapter level and is elevated to the Agency and Council Committee levels. Tribes have a major role in the IRR program transportation planning process. They develop or assist in the development of long range transportation plans, they conduct and/or participate in public meetings for transportation planning and/or road construction projects and they establish road construction priorities, which are used to develop the IRR TIP.
Is there a process for reviewing projects so improvements are factored into the project?
Projects are identified and there is a process that reviews project scope and fund availability. Improvements are only factored in if funding has been set aside to cover any of those improvements.
How do tribes address bridge construction on roads (flood control, funding; culverts, drainage systems under highways)?
To answer this question it would be best to contact the
ADOT district engineer
, or the respective
regional engineer and their staffs to discuss what the specific needs are and suggested alternative improvements. Specific drainage or bridge improvements must meet certain criteria, which can also be accessed through the district engineer, the BIA regional engineer and their staffs.
For design purposes do drawings need engineer's stamp/approval before regional office review?
ADOT requires that specific drawings and designs be stamped by a professional engineer for projects that impact the State Highway System. If there are any questions contact the Arizona State Board of Technical Registration at (602) 364-4930 or
check their web site
Are scenic by-way projects on the planning list for new construction or improvements?
Some projects are eligible for special grants but they go through the normal priority programming process and may be required to compete on a national level as well.
What is the number of projects and construction costs for building and improving roads on/off the reservations (Hopi & Navajo)?
The average construction cost for projects on reservations are a little higher than some of the costs off the reservation. Most of the increase in costs is due to increased haul distances for materials and meeting the different employment requirements dictated by tribal law (Per ADOT).
The number varies from year to year for Navajo depending on the funding, size of projects, degree of project readiness, as examples (Per BIA-NRO).
This information is available for the Hopi and Navajo Reservations from the
Branch of Roads, upon receipt of a written request from the tribe (Per BIA-WRO).
What can be done to streamline or shorten the length of time to obtain road projects to get started?
This issue needs to be addressed on a tribe-by-tribe and project-by-project basis, as there are certain activities and time frames associated with the project development. Typical time frames for a
road construction project are delineated on the "Pre-Construction Activities" flowchart (a copy of this handout is included in the Appendix). In the
, the existing tribal ROW,
, and other processes need to be restructured to allow for a more streamlined approach to getting transportation needs met in a timelier manner.
How can the tribes help to improve the communication between agencies in trying to clear projects in a timely manner - bid date (e.g. R/W clearance, tribal council meetings, etc.)?
Work with the Districts and the respective project manager when coordinating clearances and tribal meetings. In most cases the District personnel will have knowledge of what is being proposed and what is programmed for projects within various Indian reservations
Could you explain the TERO Program Coordination requirements?
An issue was raised regarding ADOT Maintenance contracts not being included in TERO requirements. We do a good job of including TERO stipulations in construction contracts, but often overlook in maintenance contracts. This is partially due to the fact that each tribe has its own rules, such as the dollar amount of the contract. Several tribal representatives noted that the tribes would like to have an opportunity to participate in these contracts (e.g. Sacaton rest area maintenance).
Right of Way
How long of a process is there to receive a right-of-way for new road construction?
For the State, the actual right-of-way acquisition process may only take 1 month to 1 year. The preliminary work including environmental clearances can take up to 3 years. For BIA Navajo Region roads, a minimum of three years is considered the norm. Some projects take a lot longer depending upon the environmental and archeology clearances.
Navajo projects – what if one person goes against the right-of-way, can this stop the project?
For a BIA or Navajo initiated project the answer is yes, unless the tribe determines that the project is important enough to the economic and social goals of the tribe, then they can take the land by eminent domain, which is rarely done.
Why don't the Navajo roads constructed have the ROW fenced?
In the past Navajo roads were constructed through lands classified as open-range. The
has since requested that all roads constructed include fencing at the right of way boundaries. Some roads built in the past without fencing have remained unfenced. But more recently fencing has been included in road construction projects. Some ROW fencing projects have been entered in the construction priorities for programming. One major problem the BIA has with fenced ROWs is tort liability. Therefore, the BIA discourages the fencing of road ROWs unless there is strong support to do otherwise.
Who is responsible for livestock on state/county road ROWs that present danger to traffic on the Navajo Reservation?
Those who own the livestock, according to the
Navajo Nation Supreme Court
and the tribal code. The livestock owner is responsible where fencing is installed. Enforcement for gate closures along BIA, state, and county roads is under the jurisdiction of the Navajo Nation. Other tribes have different policies in regards to keeping livestock off the roadway.
How was the ROW obtained for the state highway crossing two Moencopi allotments above the village?
This will need to be researched. In most cases the right of way was obtained through BIA when the roadway was originally constructed and then it was turned over to ADOT when the roadway was declared a state highway. A formal request for further information can be made by contacting Chief Right of Way Agent of the ADOT Right of Way Group at 602.712.7316.
Where or who monitors or collects access needs for reservations?
On Navajo, the BIA and NDOT determine the needs through the tribal transportation-planning program.
Are roads on Indian allotments included in the state-tribal transportation programs?
Yes, if they are on the state's, BIA's, or tribe's highway systems.
Where do county roads operation, construction and maintenance fit in?
Counties are responsible for the operation, construction and maintenance of county owned roads over Indian land and should coordinate these activities with local tribal officials.
counties have reached agreement with BIA to maintain some of the BIA routes in the respective counties.
County has been funding the purchase of roadway maintenance materials to be used by BIA or the individual communities in road improvements.
Local transit program for Tribes?
IRR construction funds may be used to construct transit system facilities (i.e. transit pick-up shelters) and purchase vehicles for a tribal transit program, but, cannot be used to operate the program. Funds for both capital improvements/purchases and operating assistance are available from the Federal Transit Administration, under
, through the state DOT. Funds are also available from the Federal Transit administration, under Section
, through the state DOT, to provide training and technical assistance to transit operators.
How can the tribe/state coordinate transit funding to better the transit needs of the tribes?
Transit planning should be coordinated with input from both government entities and transit plans should be implemented with involvement of all impacted parties. Communication between both government entities is key.
Is the Navajo Nation being adequately funded/considered for transit program funding?
No. Operations budget is needed to cover expenses such as facilities, repairs, and general operations.
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